We’re Nuts About Tigernuts – Here’s Why.

by | Read time: 4 minutes

A while ago, I discovered a new food that was crunchy, sweet and altogether delicious. And it was loaded with nutrition. For someone like me, who needs to stick to a somewhat limited diet and whose son has a peanut allergy, that was very exciting!

Bowl of Tigernuts Next to Glass of Tigernut Milk | Vitacost.com/Blog

What are tigernuts?

If you’ve never heard of tigernuts, I encourage you to try them. I think you will enjoy them whether or not you follow a specific nutrition protocol. Tigernuts are not nuts – they are small root tubers that grow under the ground (like potatoes, yams and Jerusalem artichokes). They originate from Northern Africa and the Mediterranean region. Tigernuts are gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and taste sweet, with a hint of coconut. And because tigernuts provide some of the same nutritional qualities of nuts without being “true” nuts, they can be safely consumed by those with tree nut and peanut allergies.

Health benefits of tigernuts

The health benefits of tigernuts are vast. They’re packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, and deliver a serious wallop of energy. They’re a solid source of magnesium, iron and potassium, as well as vitamins C and E. They are touted as a fiber-filled “superfood” that is a good source of protein and can help control your blood pressure.

Tigernuts are a rich source of resistant starch, a type of starch which resists digestion. While most starches are broken down by enzymes in our small intestine, where it is absorbed, resistant starch is not absorbed and goes straight to the large intestine, or colon, where it can fuel our good bacteria. This provides a number of benefits including keeping us feeling fuller for longer, and also reduces the amount of calories we absorb from the food. Resistant starch has also been found to reduce blood sugar spikes and therefore curbs your appetite. This is why many believe tigernuts can be helpful in weight loss.

Resistant starch is also a prebiotic, which helps our bodies fuel and naturally develop good, friendly bacteria ensuring a strong immune system and a healthy microbiome.

According to Organic Gemini, which is one of the original companies that created and manufactured a line of snacks and beverages that feature this ancient superfood, tigernuts comprised 80 percent of our Paleo ancestors’ diet and contain as much iron as red meat.

How to enjoy tigernuts

There are many ways to enjoy tigernuts. You can munch on them straight out of the bag. They can be a little hard to chew, so soaking them in water overnight at room temperature will soften them up a bit and will bring out their naturally sweet and nutty flavor. Simply drain them and enjoy! I like to lay them out to dry before storing. I eat these straight or add them to my favorite granola recipe.

For people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, tigernuts can also be ground up into a gluten-free flour to make cookies, pastries, muesli and other baked goods. Easily substitute regular flour with a 1:1 ratio. From my experience baking with tigernut flour, it acts similarly to almond flour, adding texture and chewiness to the recipe. The flour has a slightly sweet flavor, which means you can cut down on the sweetener that your recipe calls for as well (bonus!).

In places like Spain and Mexico, the most popular way to consume tiger nuts is by making horchata de chufa or sweetened tiger nut milk. Tigernut milk offers a healthy alternative for people with dairy allergies and lactose intolerance to use in smoothies or coffee, or to enjoy on its own. To make a simple milk using tigernuts, soak them for 12-48 hours, drain them and blend them up in a high-speed blender with enough water to create a creamy consistency.

Tigernut oil is another way to enjoy tigernuts. The oil is extracted from the tigernut, is golden brown in color, and has a slightly nutty taste. It has a high smoke point, and higher oxidative stability than other oils, meaning it retains most of the nutrition when heated without being chemically decomposed. The high vitamin E and oleic acid content also makes it popular among skin care products and is used to promote skin health.

In any form, tigernuts can be a welcome addition to your diet. Give them a try – your tastebuds and gut bacteria will thank you. To discover the wonders of this nut that isn’t a nut, check out all of the tigernut products at Vitacost.com.

Click here for delicious, nutritious and easy-to-make tigernut recipes.